San Diego Padres: 2020 player profile, Fernando Tatis Jr.

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SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - AUGUST 06: Fernando Tatis Jr. #23 of the San Diego Padres celebrates in the dugout after hitting a two run home run against the Seattle Mariners in the fifth inning during their game at T-Mobile Park on August 06, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - AUGUST 06: Fernando Tatis Jr. #23 of the San Diego Padres celebrates in the dugout after hitting a two run home run against the Seattle Mariners in the fifth inning during their game at T-Mobile Park on August 06, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /
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The San Diego Padres saw top prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. make his big league debut last year. Let’s look at the advanced statistics and his 2020 projections.

Fernando Tatis Jr. made his long-awaited debut for the San Diego Padres last year. The 21-year-old was acquired at the age of 17 from the Chicago White Sox in exchange for James Shields in what ended up being a three-player deal. Tatis skipped Triple-A after posting a .286/.355/.507 line with 16 home runs and 43 RBI in 88 games for Double-A Amarillo during the 2018 season.

Last year, he was limited by injuries and played in just 84 games. However, he finished third in Rookie of the Year voting while posting a .317/.379/.590 line with 22 home runs and 53 RBI.

Statcast Batting Statistics

Tatis finished within the top nine percent of the league last season with a 13.2 barrel percentage and in the top four percent of weighted-on-base-average (.398). However, he also finished in the bottom seven percent with a 29.6 percent strikeout rate.

Batted Balls

According to Fangraphs, Tatis hit line drives at a 22.4 percent clip, which was the lowest since his first stint at Double-A in 2017. His 46.6 percent groundball rate was the highest since his Rookie ball debut in 2016. As a result, his flyballs were the lowest at a 30.9 percent clip.

He was primarily a pull hitter with 41.9 percent of batted balls towards left field, 36.6 percent to center, and just 21.6 percent to the opposite field. That said, he tattooed the ball at a 41.9 percent hard-hit rate, 37.0 percent medium contact, and just 21.2 percent soft contact.

Baserunning

Tatis was sharp on the basepaths last year stealing bases at a 73 percent clip, including going 3-for-3 at stealing third. He recorded six outs on the basepaths, which is likely attributed to being a rookie. However, his speed was undervalued as he grounded into just four double plays on 62 opportunities.

Fielding

Aside from strikeouts, fielding is the area where Tatis needs to improve the most. He committed 18 errors with four of those coming via fielding errors and 14 throwing errors.

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2020 Projections

Whenever the season does begin, Fangraphs projects a .281/.346/.512 line with 20 home runs and 60 RBI (122 wRC+). What’s amazing is he posted those numbers despite several categories not being favorable. And as he gains experience, the batted ball spray chart should level out as well as experiencing fewer strikeouts.

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